Lee Johnson reveals how he will utilise Sunderland's play-off experience ahead of Lincoln City clash
Lee Johnson is set to draw upon Sunderland’s play-off experience ahead of the club’s semi-final clash with Lincoln City.
The Black Cats will travel to Sincil Bank for the first leg on May 19, and Johnson is planning to sit down with the members of his squad who have tasted play-off success prior to the game.
The hope is that such conversations will help Sunderland pinpoint the minor details that could make a difference across two legs.
"The good thing is we’ve got a lot of experience in the group of play-offs,” explained the head coach.
"Jamie McAllister won the play-offs as a player with Yeovil, lost in the play-off final as I did at Bristol City.
"You’ve got Grant Leadbitter who has gone through the play-offs, Josh Scowen and obviously the boys who have been here.
"So we have got a lot of experience and one of my thought processes is to sit round with those guys and say ‘okay, some of us have won them and lost them, what was the feeling?’
"What went well? What went wrong? Do you need a trip? Do you need to just turn up on the day? Is is the same hotel?
"There’s all those things that come into consideration and often some really good bits.”
And while Johnson is keen to take the positives from players who have won the play-offs, so too is he keen to avoid the pitfalls that he has seen first hand.
The head coach was part of the Bristol City squad who lost the 2008 Championship play-off final – and Johnson admits he is still ‘scarred’ by one particular aspect of that day.
"When I was a Bristol City player, five players signed boot deals for that particular game,” he said.
"The blades on the studs were really short and those players slipped at least ten to twelve times in key positions.
"It cost us on the day, so little things like that – I’m scarred a little bit.
"I just want to make sure our confidence can come from our preparation because everyone is so well-versed and in it for the right reasons.”